How to Track a Car by the VIN

by Contributor

When you are researching where a car is and where it has been, it is easier to perform a tracking search if you have an identifiable number such as a vehicle identification number (VIN). Tracking a vehicle's VIN might not be free, but the results are accurate and useful.

Go to the Carfax website to obtain a detailed report on the vehicle you want to track (see Resources below). A Carfax report will show you the names of current and previous owners and the dates they owned the vehicle.

Determine the vehicle's whereabouts. Take the name of the current owner as outlined by the Carfax report and use your local phone book or an online phone directory to obtain the address and phone number. Keep in mind that the current owner's address may not be the current location of the car. The owner may have lived at several different addresses or someone else may be using the vehicle.

Visit the state's Department of Motor Vehicles Web site. This site usually allows users to input a VIN and obtain corresponding information for the vehicle such as a license plate or driver's license number. Find out the privacy rules for your state before you do this kind of tracking so you don't break any laws.

Drive to the owner's address. Look for the car. If it is there, your tracking has been a success.

Wait for the owner to return if you don't see the car. Sit on the side of the street; the person may drive the vehicle past you and pull into his driveway.

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